Reader John and his friend Michelle found themselves in a situation where they needed to get “Plan B” birth control, also known as “the morning after pill.” They went to their local CVS in Hawthorne, CA. and met an uncooperative pharmacist who refused them access to the pills because Michelle only had foreign ID to prove she is of legal age. (18+) The pharmacist also refused John’s state issued ID with the reason that it could not be sold to man, however, the FDA’s website clearly says that Plan B can be sold OTC to a man or woman who is 18 or over. Find out what happened to John and Michelle, inside….
Ok, so we had an “accident” with our condom. We decided before it was too late to purchase the famous PlanB at a local CVS pharmacy. When we got there the pharmacist requested a “state issued I.D.”. My friend is visiting so she does not have a state-issued I.D. so she showed her Colombian citizenship ID that clearly shows her date of birth as well as her picture and signature. The pharmacist did not even look at it and rejected it because it was not a US-issued I.D.
So I told her, “What if someone is here illegally and is raped? Would that mean they don’t have the right to buy Plan B?” She kept saying “It’s the law.” I got really mad and told her that was absurd. Then I told her that I had a state-issued I.D. and she said that it could only be purchased by the person who is going to take it, which basically means it can only be sold to women.
So we went back home and I searched online for information about purchasing Plan B, and I found on the FDA’s website that as long as you are over 18, you can buy it, no matter if you are a male or a female.
I printed this information and headed back to the pharmacy. I confronted the pharmacist and told her that the law protects me as a consumer and that I had the right to buy the pill. She did not even look at the information I had printed and kept saying “It’s the law.”
We ended up buying it from another CVS pharmacy in the area. The pharmacist there was very polite. At the beginning she did not know that the law allows ANYONE over 18 to purchase it but she did not have a problem verifying her age with a foreign-issued ID.
Please publish this story. People need to know their rights. Thank you Consumerist!
We sympathize with you both. It sounds like this CVS pharmacist put you through a lot of trouble for no good reason because according to the FDA’s website, a man or woman can purchase Plan B if they are 18 or older and does not mention the exclusion of foreign identification. From the FDA’s website:
7a. How can I purchase over-the-counter Plan B?
In order to purchase Plan B over-the-counter, personal identification showing proof of age (18) is required. Plan B will be available behind the counter at the pharmacy in order to manage both prescription (17 years and under) and OTC (18 years and over) dispensing. This means Plan B will not be sold at gas stations or convenience stores, where other OTC products are routinely available.
7b. Can men purchase Plan B? (added 12/14/2006)
Yes. Plan B OTC is approved to allow OTC availability of Plan B for consumers 18 years and older. Plan B remains available by prescription only for women 17 years and younger.
We’re happy to hear that the second CVS store accepted the foreign ID, even though neither store was aware that it could be legally purchased by a man of legal age. You should talk to the head pharmacists at both stores and inform them of the FDA’s rules regarding Plan B. Also contact the store managers and let them know that the pharmacy is not operating within the FDA’s guidelines. If that doesn’t help then keep moving up the chain of command until the problem is acknowledged and corrected. You could also file a complaint with the California State Board of Pharmacy. It might sound like a lot of trouble but doing so will help ensure that others won’t have to endure similar headaches.